4 weight-loss-friendly fast-food swaps nutritionists want you to make
Finding time to eat three healthy meals each day can be challenging. Even if you’re committed to preparing healthy meals in advance, you’ll likely have days when you don’t have time. Sometimes, you may find yourself running late for work and just want a quick and easy meal. This is where fast food chains like McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, and Dunkin’ come in. Unfortunately, as you already know, fast food chains are far from the healthiest option. This is because fast food is usually full of unhealthy chemicals and artificial ingredients. They are also calorie-dense, highly flavorful, and nutritionally barren.
The good news is that it is possible to make healthy choices even when eating out at your favorite fast food restaurant. To learn more, we spoke with Mary-Ellen Sabat, registered dietitian and ACE-certified trainer at BodyDesigns by Mary. She believes that while it’s best to eat fresh prepared foods and pack them on the go, you can still replace some of your fast food with healthy options that contain the nutrients your body needs. Find out more below!
McDonald’s Big Mac, fries, and cola
Big Mac – One of the most famous offers of McDonald’s. Although delicious, the Big Mac is not the healthiest meal. Fortunately, there is still a healthy trade-off you can make the next time you find yourself in the Golden Arches. “At McDonald’s, you can substitute a meal for a healthier Big Mac, fries and Coke (910 calories), which is a grilled chicken McWrap with a side salad and water (390 calories),” Sabat explains. She says this meal is even better because it contains more fresh vegetables and lean protein. The grilled chicken McWrap is low in calories. It’s the win!
Wendy’s Baconator, Fries, and Cola
Bacon, unfortunately, is a heart disease-promoting food. That’s why, Sabat says, you should swap out Wendy’s Baconator for something healthier. “At Wendy’s, instead of ordering bacon with fries and a cola (1,380 calories),” she suggests, “the right weight-loss meal could be a grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad and water (425 calories).” Wendy’s grilled chicken sandwich is better than bacon because, like McWrap, it has fewer calories and contains more fresh vegetables and lean protein.
Chick-fil-A’s Original Chicken Sandwich, French Fries and Coke
At Chick-fil-A, the perfect meal for weight loss could be a grilled chicken sandwich with a side. [a] cup of fruit and water (320 calories) instead of the Original Sandwich with Medium Fries and a Coke (1,090 calories),” Sabat explains. So even though a fried chicken sandwich like Chick-fil-A’s Original may be tempting, the Grilled Chicken Sandwich Better for you in the long run because grilled chicken loses a lot of unnecessary fat during the cooking process, or try this cauliflower sandwich from Chick-fil-A!
Domino’s large cheese pizza and Coca-Cola
Who doesn’t love a good cheese pizza? It’s delicious but unfortunately, cheese pizza from a fast food pizzeria like Domino’s is full of calories and saturated fat. Instead, Sabat has a healthy swap proposition. “At Domino’s, a good swap for a large cheese pizza with Coca-Cola (2,299 calories) could be a thin crust pizza with veggies and light cheese and a side salad with water (650 calories),” she says. This thin crust vegan cheese pizza is a way healthier than regular cheese pizza because it has more fresh veggies and mild cheese so it’s lower in saturated fat.
Sometimes you just need a quick meal on the go! Whether you’re at the airport, on a road trip, or making it to the office from your lunch break, grabbing a bite of a string can be easy—but it’s rarely the healthiest option. Fortunately, you don’t need to sacrifice nutrition for convenience. So, next time you’re on a drive-by, try some of these healthy swaps!